SMU Dance Marathon Raises Thousands for Children’s Health

About 130 SMU students danced their hearts out as they raised $30,000 for Children’s Health Hospital at Dance Marathon on November 2, 2019.

The annual fundraiser offered up flavorful free food, raffle prizes and performances from the SMU Pom Squad. Brooke Betik, a dancer on the squad, said she was excited to support such an amazing cause.

“I think it’s important for everyone to come to Dance Marathon and really show support for the kids,” Betik said. “It is also a great way to get SMU hype to help the community.”

Connor Saeli, an SMU alum and former contestant on ABC’s The Bachelorette, worked to energize the crowd and motivated participants to continue fundraising throughout the 6-hour event.

The now-famous Mustang spent the day directing games, posing for photos, and handing out roses to top fundraisers. Saeli’s favorite activity of the day, however, was hanging out with Meredith Salazar, a patient at Children’s Health.

“She is such a sweet and genuine person,” Saeli said. “I think we take so much in life for granted and to see these kids fighting through what they are going through, it really is inspiring.”

Salazar took to the stage and thanked the fundraisers for all of their efforts. She then ran through the spirit tunnel to “Fight Song,” the song she plays during her treatments at the hospital.

“I think it’s so amazing that all the money you raise goes straight to Children’s Hospital,” Salazar said. “Children’s is very important to me. They saved my life.”

Amanda Labell, President of SMU Dance Marathon, is also grateful for Children’s Health and credits the hospital with saving the life of her best friend.

“Dance Marathon is super important to me because one of my best friends had cancer and I don’t know where I would be without her if she wasn’t alive,” Labell said.

Labell was extremely proud to have helped Dance Marathon raise $30,000 for Children’s Health through donations from students and community partners. Already excited for next year, Labell encouraged SMU students to continue helping kids in need and to get involved with Dance Marathon in any way they can.

“I really recommend you do it, it was a really successful event this year and I think it will be even better next year,” Labell said.